California Army National Guard provides aircraft, personnel to fight wildfires
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The California National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing prepares aircraft up to support CALFIRE and help its Ventura County neighbors impacted by the Thomas Fire. The unit is home to Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFS) equipped C-130J air... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
California Guard provides aircraft, personnel to fight wildfires
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army National Guard Pvt. 1st Class Kane Coronado of the 756th Transportation Company in Lancaster, California, secures pallets of food onto a palletized loading system Dec. 7, 2017, at Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos, California. The bas... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
California Guard provides aircraft, personnel to fight wildfires
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The California National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing prepares aircraft up to support CALFIRE and help its Ventura County neighbors impacted by the Thomas Fire. The unit is home to Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) equipped C-130J ai... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

ARLINGTON, Va. - Nearly 1,350 California National Guard personnel have joined in the battle against six large, ferocious wildfires that consumed more than 137,000 acres.

Wind gusts approaching 80 mph are propelling flames across hillsides, enabling them to consume trees, vegetation and homes before firefighters are able to respond.

As of Friday, 20,000 homes are threatened, and more than 195,000 people are under evacuation orders, according to figures from the National Guard Bureau.

Guard members have joined with state fire personnel in well-practiced coordination, with the Guard providing logistics support such as traffic control as well as aircraft for the battle.

So far, two C-130J Modular Airborne Firefighter Systems are in service, as well as an unmanned MQ-9 Reaper for aerial reconnaissance.

Capt. William Martin, a Guard spokesman, said the drone is being used for monitoring wildfires and potential flare ups using its sophisticated thermal and night imaging systems, which can detect light and heat far better than the naked eye and from a much higher altitude.

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